Strawbale Cafe

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 2 reviews )

Freightliners Farm, Sheringham Rd, Highbury, North London, England, N7 8PF

Veggie eatery that serves soups, salads, cakes, tea and coffee, juices. Open Tue-Sun 10:00am-4:00pm.

2 Reviews

First Review by pamself

Cosy and friendly little veggie cafe - Edit

On a rare sunny day in October, the city farm where this cafe is based had a lot of mothers/nannies showing toddlers around the animals and plants, and a few sitting outside the cafe to eat (where you can get that authentic farm smell!). I opted to eat inside ;0. It seemed miles away from the one-time somewhat notorious Holloway road which is just a stones throw away.

Mains on offer when I visited were a fennel stew, gnocchi, 3 different vegetable soups and a selection of sandwiches. Apparently I was too late for the falafal which had sold out.

I asked if the stew was vegan, but before I got an answer the chef popped from behind and said it was not ready yet, would be another 40mins. He seemed genuinely apologetic as he asked how "strict" a vegan I was, because for the soups he was now using Marigold bouillon which contains lactose. At least he knew what he was talking about. Then he offered to make me up a special salad and I asked if I could have it with a sandwich, and he said the sandwiches already come with salad. So I settled for a vegan hummus samdwich and side salad.

I think the chef must have made a special salad for me anyway, because when he brought over my double door-stop monster of a hummus and carrot sandwich, it came with a salad that would not have looked out of place in a "fine-dining" resturant, except it was a very generous portion - an artful sculpture-like creation of artichoke, lettuce, grated beetroot and carrots, rolled up long slithers of cucumber, topped with fresh rocket and other spicy salad leaves I could not identify, and with a light olive oil dressing. I would guess that some of the ingredients were grown on the farm too. All for £4.50, which is what you normally pay just for a sandwich from a clone sandwich shop in London.

Both sandwich and salad were very tasty and filling. I asked the vegan status of the brownies and cakes on display, even though I knew I could not fit anything more in. The chef looked at his shoes again and shook his head. Well they had fresh fruit on display too and I'm sure he would have made me up a fruit salad if I'd wanted it.

Overall I enjoyed my visit. I would like to see more vegan options, but the chef would probably make you up something anyway if you ask. Obviously a good place for young families, but also if you want to get away from the tension of London and relax with some home-style veggie food and possibly pet an animal too.

Pros: Relaxed and friendly, Good for families, Good value

Cons: Not meny vegan options

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Farm animals but not on your plate - Edit

If you’re looking for somewhere interesting to take the kids, or just want to spend some time in a relaxed urban oasis, this small café is for you. Strawbale Café is in the middle of a city farm – the only one in the UK with a non-slaughtering policy. The animals aren’t bred for consumption, but the farm does produce eggs, honey and (I assume) milk.

Cheese featured in most of the dishes on the menu, so as a vegan I had a choice between falafel and vegetable chilli (without cheese). For vegetarians, there was also soup, sandwiches, feta cheese salad, and there are a few children’s dishes. The chilli was very tasty and full of chunky vegetables, and came with salad as well as whole grain rice. Cakes included beetroot brownie, chilli chocolate cake and apple flapjack, which all looked very tempting but unfortunately weren’t vegan.

Although choices were limited, the food was great and the atmosphere welcoming and relaxed. You can sit in the lovely plywood-lined interior, or outside in the garden, listening to the ducks and birds. There are books to read and when it’s not too busy it’s a nice place to linger, with or without kids in tow.

I didn’t get a chance to interrogate anyone about the dairy cows, or the farm’s education policy relating to meat. But they do teach kids about gardening and cooking, and encourage them to think about where their food comes from, which is definitely a step in the right direction – and something you can support whilst enjoying a meal in this charming café.

Pros: Healthy tasty food, Attractive building and garden, Very family friendly

Cons: Limited vegan choices, and no vegan cake, Over-excited children

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